You are a grass farmer, or you want to be one. This is a very good way to live and enjoy what you do. How do we get to be or continue being a grass farmer? First and most important is to be profitable. Without a profit, it is very difficult to do what is needed or to enjoy the work. Spending more than we make is not much fun. Politicians like to, but that is because they are spending someone else’s money.
What is necessary to be sure of a profit?
1.Knowledge of the land we have and what it can produce.
2.Knowledge of what we want to or will raise and how to best do this.
3.Learn the best way to sell our product and how to deliver it to our customer.
4.Understand good money and asset management.
5.What may be most important of all is to know and understand yourself.
Know what you will and will not do. Know how much time you are willing to spend to make things work and still have it be enjoyable. To think it will be enjoyable and profitable is not enough. We must know that we like the work or be willing to learn to like what work is necessary to get a good result.
When the farm is profitable how do we keep it that way? This country went from small farm to family farm to factory farm. How did this happen? Was it because of evil corporations taking advantage of us? Government conspiracy to keep food prices low? Cheap oil or any of the other things that are blamed?
No it was none of these. It was more people and people wanting more. It just evolved. There are no villains. The factory or corporation farm happened because there was an ever increasing population. And the people supplying them wanted more. Good or bad, that is what happened. As the cities grew, it got harder to supply all of the people in them. Companies started up just to deliver things. Now they needed a constant supply. If the small farms did not or could not supply what they wanted, then the farms that did supply them just got bigger.
Let’s use a different example. A million years ago, give or take a few weeks, people lived in caves (we have been told). As the population grew, they moved out and started to build other shelters. It was just too hard to expand or move the cave. After several thousand years, give or take a few days, they were building houses from bricks and trees. They didn’t do this because some big timber company made them, this was done because there were more people and they needed someplace to live. At first a person or small group of people made the lumber. After a while there were more people and some only made lumber to sell to the ones building the houses. At first the people would only buy the very best lumber. So at that time there were lots of trees cut to get just the best. As the years went by and the good got more expensive, there were ways developed to use more and more of the tree. That is how waste and bad practices are stopped. As the years have gone by, all of this was forgotten and now the big timber companies are hated for cutting down trees. Every year more trees are planted than are cut down. Even with that they are still hated.
What if we could just get rid of the big companies and go cut just the trees we needed to build our house? What if we lived a long ways from where the trees grew? How would we make the lumber and get it home? Since now there are no companies to build vehicles to transport the lumber, would we just pack it home. With as many people as there are and each person cutting the trees that they wanted, would the job be done better? Would the forests be in better shape, of course not. We need the large companies just like they need us. If everyone quit buying lumber and paper products, the timber companies will quit cutting trees down.
Grass farming is great, but what does this tell us? If we don’t make a profit, we will probably quit. If we do make a profit, then by getting bigger it would be possible to make even more. If we are successful and want more of the family involved, we will now have more people wanting more. That can be good if they don’t want too much more. With more people each person can spend more time at what they are best at. To stay a successful grass farmer makes us walk a fine line. Be profitable and wanting more but not too many people wanting too much too fast.
The factory farms will not be stopped by high oil, grain, or land prices. They were created by people much but not quite like us. And only people will slow them down, change them, or maybe even stop them. The best way to slow them down is by setting a good example and showing a better way. It is better to spend time making what we do and less time trying to prove them wrong. The factory farm evolved because people wanted and let it happen, so at this time it may not be that wrong, just certainly not the best way. War is not good, but it is probably better than being occupied by some other country.
We must realize that grass farming has a long way to go before it can produce the meat necessary to have a constant everyday supply for the whole country. Then we will have to have a network to process and deliver the products to all parts of the country. Until the day that this can be done, the other farms are needed. What this means is they will probably always be needed, but there is a large market for grass based products. This will grow fast if people learn how to have a more constant supply and less costly ways to process and deliver it. Remember, the factory farms happened because small farms grew too fast.
If you can’t stop the cutting of trees, just buy the toilet paper and enjoy it. If we can’t change the factory farms, at least we can supply the people who want grass based products. Make a profit, and enjoy what we do.
Like what you do, then you can Smile and Mean it.